Publication details

In the “Public Interest”? Dispossessing Art Collections in Communist Czechoslovakia Between 1948 and 1965



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Acta historiae artis Slovenica
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Dispossessions;Communist Czechoslovakia;Art Collecting;Modern Art;National Gallery in Prague;Vincenc Kramář;Václav Butta;Rudolf Barák;František Čeřovský;Emil Filla
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Description In the first decade after 1948 Communist coup d'état, private art collecting in Czechoslovakia experienced a great deal of ideologically motivated oppression. The targeted, systemic actions against representatives of the bourgeoisie, former social elites, who had hitherto been the vehicles of this art collecting phenomenon, were taken. The persecution peaked in 1959 and 1960 by exemplary trials with eminent pre-war art collectors. This provoked the extensive wave of violent dispossessions of private artistic assets, the significant mobility of prominent and large art collections from private to public sphere in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The article concerns several pattern cases of trials, resulting in the confiscation of property, the enrichment of the leading public collections and exemplary punishment and also cases of other "soft" ways of dispossessing individuals through the s. c. legally forced “gift” / “donation” of art equivalent in value to an inheritance or property tax that had been levied.
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